Disgraced former Assemblyman Tom Calderon laundered over a million dollars in two years, but now claims he doesn't have the money to pay a small fine.
Mike Sprague with Daily News: "Former state assemblyman Tom Calderon of Montebello made nearly $1 million between 2013 and 2015, but he doesn’t have enough money to pay a fine as part of his sentence for pleading guilty to one count of money laundering, according to a presentencing report that will go to U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder."
"Snyder is expected to sentence Calderon on Monday and a potential fine could be as high as $500,000, according to Calderon’s plea agreement."
"A separate report for former state Sen. Ron Calderon, Tom Calderon’s brother, said he shouldn’t have to pay a similar fine after admitting to accepting bribes while he was in office. He is scheduled to be sentenced by the same judge on Sept. 19."
The Califormnia Coastal Commission has voted 'no' on the proposed Banning Ranch development plan, which sought to utilize one of the last remaining untouched tracts of private land in Southern California.
Bettina Boxall and Dan Weikel with L.A. Times: "After a marathon day of testimony, California coastal commissioners voted to deny a controversial proposal to develop one of the largest open private parcels of land on the Southern California coast."
"The 9-1 vote came at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, more than 11 hours after the hearing started. The proposed development called for construction of 895 homes, a hotel and shops on an Orange County oil field overlooking the Pacific Ocean."
"The denial was more an expression of frustration with competing staff and developer proposals for Newport Banning Ranch than an outright rejection of the project."
Citizens hoping to see a tax exemption for the purchases of health supplies such as tampons and diapers may be disappointed to learn that their bills are among nearly 800 still waiting a signature from Gov. Brown. The governor, by the way, has said that he would be 'dour and skeptical' about any new tax-cut propositions.
Ben Adler with CPR: "Among the nearly 800 bills sitting on California Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk are a slew of measures that seek to create new tax breaks or exemptions. Some, like sales tax exemptions for diapers and tampons, passed the Legislature with broad bipartisan support."
"But it's highly unlikely that Brown will sign those bills."
"Just last week, the governor vetoed a bill that would have created an obscure new sales tax exemption. His veto message spoke louder than the veto itself: “New sales tax exemptions, like new spending on programs, need to be considered comprehensively as part of the budget deliberations."
Speaking of Brown, schools are pushing him to sign an accountability and rating system that the State Board of Education opposes.
John Fensterwald with EdSource: "More than 300 nonprofit groups, individuals and business organizations urged Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday to sign legislation that would require the State Board of Education to rank schools’ and school districts’ academic performance using an overall rating, a model the state board and the state Department of Finance oppose."
"The request was in a letter that was sent to Brown one day before the board is expected to approve a new school evaluation system that shifts away from a reliance on standardized test scores. The new system is designed to be more comprehensive by including additional factors, among them high school graduation rates, suspension rates, a measure of college and career readiness, and harder-to-quantify “local” indicators on parent involvement and implementation of academic standards."
"In passing Assembly Bill 2548, sponsored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, the Assembly and the Senate unanimously endorsed that approach. And the groups, in signing the letter, emphasized their overall support, too. But the bill would also require the board to consolidate the results of the individual performance indicators in an overall school rating that would let parents compare schools and districts while giving a simpler picture of how well their school is doing."
READ MORE related to Education: Did a rambling ballot measure argument hijack the debate over a $288 million school bond measure? -- Jordan Graham with O.C. Register; Kindergarten readiness gap between lower-income and higher-income students shrinking -- Jeremy Hay with EdSource
The O.P.D. has fired and suspended multiple officers in relation to a sex ring scandal involving a minor and other cops that ultimately led to one officer's suicide.
Kevin Fagan, Rachel Swan and Steve Rubenstein with The Chronicle: "An investigation into sexual misconduct at the Oakland Police Department that began with an officer’s suicide a year ago ended Wednesday with the firings of four police officers and suspensions of seven others."
"At a late-afternoon news conference with Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Administrator Sabrina Landreth said the officers are being disciplined in connection with the scandal involving a 19-year-old sex worker from Richmond who calls herself Celeste Guap. Officials have said some officers had sex with Guap, the daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher, in some cases when she was a minor."
"Schaaf would not reveal the officers’ names, saying state confidentiality laws barred it."
READ MORE related to Public Safety: Californians split over extent of police abuse, polling finds -- Frank Stoltze with KPCC
A rampant crime wave is building in South Sacramento and many Asian immigrants are in fear of their lives, dubbing it as one of the scariest places to live -- and now they are demanding the government do something about it.
Stephen Magagnini, Richard Chang and Phillip Reese with Sac Bee: "A Chinese barbecue chef said two muggers followed him home from an Asian market one afternoon, robbed him of $700 and shot him in the right leg during the struggle. Another man said someone broke into his car and stole a backpack containing more than $1,200 from his beauty salon business. A woman said she and her husband drove to south Sacramento for an after-work massage, only to come out and find both their windshields shattered."
"Over the past year, a crime wave has swept over a largely Asian portion of south Sacramento. On Tuesday, community leaders went to the Sacramento City Council to plead for more patrol cars and a faster police response to muggings, robberies and home invasions."
"Some residents have become so fearful that they’ve packed up and left Sacramento, said Tom Phong, owner of Welco Supermarket, who brought 2,000 signatures to the council demanding action. “We have nearly a dozen families who have moved out, even selling their house below cost just to get the hell out,” said Phong, who has lived in Sacramento for 35 years."
Researchers at U.C. Berkeley say they have uncovered a link between heart disease among African-Americans living in a racist environment, though no causation has actually been demonstrated.
Kimberly Nielsen with Daily Californian: "Campus researchers have unearthed a new — and potentially deadly — link between white racial bias and heart complications in Black people as part of a study published online in Psychological Science this June."
"The researchers compiled data from an online racial bias test by filtering responses from 1.4 million self-identified white people in 1,700 U.S. counties. After comparing data to health records, they found that Black people living in blatantly racist communities were more likely to suffer from fatal cardiovascular disease, while white people living in the same communities showed a similar correlation but overall lower disease incidences than their Black neighbors."
"Jordan Leitner, the lead author of the study, noted that while the data revealed a “direct relationship” between racial bias and coronary disease in several counties, it did not provide evidence of causation."
Meanwhile, one of the state's IT officials has an advisory warning: be wary of phishing links in your email.
Adam Ashton with Sac Bee: "To: California state workers"
"Subject: Watch what you click"
"The state’s top technology officer is reminding California public employees to protect their workplaces from hackers as she seeks to shore up cyber security weaknesses that were revealed in a harsh audit a year ago."
Cannabis legalization runs deeper than a simple 'yes' or 'no' this election -- many local ballots are expecting to dictate growing, production and distribution terms for cannabis regardless of how the legalization vote moves forward.
Brooke Edwards with O.C. Register: "Deep into the looong November ballot, many voters will be sorting through a typical mix of school bond measures, sales tax hikes and the like. But this year, in dozens of cities and counties in California, communities will also face pivotal questions about the future of marijuana."
"A campaign to legalize recreational cannabis statewide has dominated the political debate over weed this year. Less noticed, and in some respects more significant, is a proliferation of local ballot measures that will help determine whether, where and at what cost cannabis products will be available – regardless of the outcome of the state vote."
"California’s cities and counties are the ultimate arbiters of whether pot businesses get to operate in their boundaries and how much to tax them. And that won’t change if the statewide recreational pot measure, Proposition 64, is approved in November, as some recent polls suggest is likely."
And in environmental news, the area around Mt. Diablo is abuzz with a botany-find considered to rival the quest for the Holy Grail: Mt. Diablo buckwheat, a pink cotton candy-esque band of wildflowers believed to be endangered/extinct nearly 70 years.
Peter Fimrite with The Chronicle: "A jolt of adrenaline is coursing through the normally placid botany community in the East Bay after the discovery of a prodigious patch of extremely rare wildflowers that, until a few years ago, were thought to be extinct."
"The half-acre cluster of critically endangered Mount Diablo buckwheat was spotted at the 6,096-acre Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, near Antioch, by two botanists who saw a pink hue of growth on rolling hills that normally would be covered with California’s signature golden grasslands."
"The finding came in May, but was announced Wednesday after months of secrecy usually reserved for matters of national security. East Bay Regional Park District officials declined to show The Chronicle exactly where the flower had been found out of fear that its location would be revealed, thus prompting hikers or vandals to flock there."
California's U.S. Senate race is a historical one, and with so much on the line, only the best, brightest and most reputable campaign strategists are wanted.
Sarah D. Wire with L.A. Times: "Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans and immigrants, and his rise to be the Republican party’s presidential nominee, might have thrown a wrench in Bill Carrick’s plan to get an underdog elected to the U.S. Senate."
"California hasn’t had an open Senate seat in two-and-a-half decades, and for the first time in state history, voters will choose between two Democrats for a statewide office."
"The dynamic means new territory for the two scions of California’s political consulting world involved in the race. What does such a campaign look like? How do they appeal to Republicans and moderates? How will Democrats pick sides? And how do the candidates stick out when they both have a “D” after their name on the ballot?"
And in case you missed the Commander-in-Chief forum for the Presidential Nominees, the Washington Post has a nice little fact-check sheet for you (and a succinct three-minute video).
Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee with Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each appeared for 30 minutes on NBC’s commander-in-chief forum, answering questions on national security from moderator Matt Lauer and audience members. Here’s a round-up of dubious claims made by the candidates. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios during live events."
“It was a mistake to have a personal [email] account.”
"The key issue was that Clinton had a private server and she never used her designated State Department email account, which would have kept records of emails subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act."
And now for a page out of our "Transformers" file ...
A father in China moonlighting as a Tony Stark clone has built an Optimus Prime inspired working mechbot for his son.
UPI: "A Chinese dad who runs a factory used his resources and nearly $70,000 to build a 13-foot-tall working mecha robot suit for his son."
"Yin Huajun said he used his factory machinery and about $70,000 to build the giant yellow robot, which travels on wheels and features moving arms, for his teenage son."
"The video shows Yin and his son taking the robot for test drives Thursday in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province."